978-0-465-02595-4 / 9780465025954

The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work (Science Masters Series)


Publisher:Basic Books



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About the book:

Daniel Hillis has made a career of puzzling over the nature of information and the mechanisms that put information to use. Now, he's distilled his accumulated knowledge of computer science into The Pattern on the Stone, a glorious book that reveals the nature of logical machines simply and elegantly.

Millions of times each second, to the drumbeat of a clock signal, electronic computers compare digital values. These comparisons, and the actions taken in response to them, are what computers are all about at their lowest levels, and, with the help of this book, they're not hard to comprehend. Moving on from the nature of logical circuits, the author deconstructs software and the mechanisms it employs to solve problems.

Hillis then stands atop the building blocks he's arranged into a sturdy foundation and discusses the future of computing. Parallel processors already are in use, and neural networks with limited abilities to learn and adapt have proved quite good at certain jobs. Hillis explores the potential of both these technologies. Then, he throws some light on quantum computing and evolving systems--emerging ideas that promise to make computers much more powerful, and thereby change the world. --David Wall

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